Ireland, especially the Irish countryside, is a land of unrecorded or of misrecorded crime, particularly of crimes committed by the powerful against the vulnerable. According to an account in a local history journal a woman drowned in a swimming pool in the grounds of a hotel in Wicklow in the 1930s. The hotel belonged to a leading member of the Irish branch of the German Nazi party. High-level Nazi meetings took place there. No explanation is offered for the woman’s death, in this journal. An abyss opens up in the stately grounds of County Wicklow. The story describes what I saw in this particular abyss.
I was working at a Buddhist hospice in San Francisco and creating rave flyers on the side. When I lost my job, the design gigs were the only income I had for a while, so I really arrived at graphic design through necessity. Graphic design is what happened to me while I was looking for a real job. I didn’t really think of it as a “career” until I came a across the Designers Republic issue of Emigre. That was a revelation to me; it was one of the most exciting, arresting things I had ever seen. I was like, “I want to do that, that is what I want to do.”
I went on a long spiritual journey and had to come back to art on my own. Eventually I chose to take a job at an art store in LA where I learned a lot about the various art supplies, and moved into The Parkman House in Silver Lake. I surrounded myself with like-minded, creative, beautiful sorts that shared common creative goals. If I ever needed help figuring something out for a project, I could ask my roommate, my neighbor the tattooist, or the smart boy in the Fine Arts department to guide me. Part of the fun of being mostly self-taught is I have picked my own teachers, whether they knew it or not.
It’s something under 25,000 words that you can take with you on your vacation or volunteer trip to Granada, Managua, San Juan del Sur, or anywhere south of there, in Costa Rica…or for that matter anywhere in the region where there’s this colonial expat socioeconomic reality…I think of Panama as an example. Did you know that these areas are becoming like a second Florida for elderly retirees who want to save some money and escape from the death grip of U.S. medical billing? Somebody’s got to create some interesting local fiction about this segment of people. The “silver tsunami” of Boomers impacts Central America legally, economically and culturally. What is the response in literature? Not all that much, from my research. So I decided to pen up.
Retrospectively I think whatever job I’ve had it’s been the narrative aspects that I’ve enjoyed the most. I was an SPCA inspector for a couple of years. It was all about investigating complaints of animal cruelty, which we would characterize into ‘skinny dog’, ‘dog on chain’ etc., but there was always a story behind their predicament that revolved around their owner. It didn’t excuse what happened with the animal, but I just found it interesting. Today I scan hearts, but alongside the echo findings it’s learning the person’s history and symptoms and then following the progression of their heart condition and treatment that is fascinating and endlessly variable.
It is hard to justify something as ridiculous and as old as painting is; it’s so redundant in today’s society, superfluous even with the plethora of images saturating our everyday vision. To connect to others through being disconnected and alone in a studio seems almost anti-technological in this interconnected age. Perhaps this space and time that the artist creates poring over a work is what also creates the space for a viewer to become quiet, to contemplate and reflect. Whatever it is, I believe that painting still holds up against all of its successors. I find painting to be the most direct, expressionistic, authentic and responsive medium for a subjective communication. It is the result of the interconnectivity of the hand, the eye and the canvas; the manifestation of these things – interacting. Paint on the end of a brush shaped by the subtle movements of the hand and decisions of the eye is a complex, idiosyncratic signature.
In the US, if you see an attractive or intriguing person in a magazine or on television, he or she stays on the other side of that media divide.
But New Zealand is so small and interconnected that Kiwis are rarely more than two or three degrees apart, and the line between “world-famous-in-New-Zealand” and normal person, or between knockout beauty and Average Joe from Ashburton, is much more permeable. And that’s interesting because it levels the playing field somewhat, and an unusual kind of social mobility is possible. But while it’s freeing in the sense that it enables relationships between people you might not expect, it also means you have fewer excuses for not trying.
Award-winning Irish performance poet and author Dave Lordan (davelordanwriter.com) will be guest editing Issue 9 of Penduline, an Irish-themed issue, which will launch in late spring 2013. Dave is known in Ireland and internationally for his richly provocative, philosophical, experimental literary work; along with performance poetry, he has written three books. His collections are the The Boy in The Ring (2007) and Invitation to a Sacrifice (2010), both published by Salmon Poetry, and his newest work, a collection of short fiction stories First Book of Frags (Wurm Press, forthcoming November 2012). As a lead-in to the late spring issue, Penduline editors Sarah Horner-Olson and Bonnie Ditlevsen will feature Dave in Issue 8 (“Bound”) and publish one of his newest experimental fiction stories.
Daniel Coshnear, “firstname.lastname@example.org” (Issue 4)
Michelle Joy, “The (Empty) Road” (Issue 5)
Ann Batchelor Hursey, “What Lay Open” (Issue 5)
Brendan Regan, “Country Satori” (Issue 5)
Tim Kahl, “Submission Story” (Issue 4)
John Aylesworth, “For the young woman who kills snakes and works at Tractor Supply” (Issue 5)
Lisa Sinnett, “Meant to Disturb” (Issue 2)
James Russell, “The Camp Seminole Wiener Wall” (Issue 4)
We are delighted to announce our nomination of the following Penduline authors for Pushcart Prizes: Donald Dewey, “Till’s Piano Lesson” (Issue 4); Duy Nguyen, “Thousand-Year-Old Eggs” (Issue 4); Dave Lordan, “A Bone” (Issue 6); Scott Jessop, “Mephisto” (Issue 4); Ariel Gore, “Family” (Issue 3); Tom Barlow, “Jester” (Issue 5). Congratulations and best wishes to you, [...]
I’ve played gigs as a drummer since I was fourteen, and I still love it. I also love writing/recording original music. The last few years I’ve been performing more solo acoustic gigs, just vocals and guitar, and now I’m involved in a new experimental band called Thirst that I’m pretty excited about. I guess the gigs are the more social side of writing. You know, you can’t just stay locked up in a room by yourself all the time or you’ll end up writing weird little stories about your cat.
I think “truth can be stranger than fiction” applies to photography just as it does to writing. I like to find things that other people may have missed seeing.
I don’t call myself a Midwestern poet because I left. When I think of “poets of place,” I think of Gary Snyder, who built his home in northern California in the late 60s, and has lived and written from/of that place for decades. I consider myself a semi-nomadic poet with strong Midwestern sensibilities and memories. Now that I live in Seattle, I align myself with the rich heritage of Pacific Rim poets on both sides of the ocean, stretching back thousands of years.
Cleveland is the hearth/home of our art in many ways. The almost post-apocalyptic feel of huge segments of Downtown Cleveland (where we used to live) has impacted how we think about the world. You can see that in “Washerwoman” and “A Light in the Distance” (which are two images from the same non-existent landscape). Cleveland is magical. There are all these beautiful old houses from the Gilded Age—the millionaires at the time built mansions in the heart of East Cleveland, then abandoned them later as “urban blight” struck and so, unlike some urban areas that are architecturally impoverished, in East Cleveland slums look like a Victorian apocalypse took place.
The Fertile Source has interviewed Issue 1 contributor Kenna Lee about maternal eco-anxiety and the creative process behind her new book, A Million Tiny Things: A Mother’s Urgent Search for Hope in a Changing Climate.
We create an online presence for artists and writers by bringing them to anyone with Internet access. We curate, we communicate, we improve the field and the craft by bringing about exposure. It’s a lucky thing to be published somewhere. And the good luck all rubs right back off onto us.
I am very inspired by Alexander Rodchenko and photographers like Joel Sartore. I’m always looking for that thing that haunts me about everyday life and the urban environment whilst wanting to capture something really special and strange in the natural world around me. I like to get a photo no one else has. Even if it doesn’t win any awards, I don’t mind; it is something I wanted to capture and frame forever.
She held poetry up as the accomplishment without compare. So it was to poetry that I went at the start of my creative writing life. I’d always loved the individual word, the look and feel and taste of each one. Poetry lends itself to delectable language and the choosing of words as if they are jewels. You can hold them up to the light or feel their heft in the dark. Here the emerald, there the agate. But I also loved the narrative that pulls you through difficult terrain. From poetry I began writing stories and from stories gravitated to novels. Short stories are my favorite medium. I like their space restriction and almost poetical compression of image, intensity, and voice.
And there in the midst of this squalor I met this old woman who ranted—quite intelligently—about Ayn Rand and Objectivism for more than an hour. But she lived it. She lived as she believed. Her apartment was pretty much as described in the story: littered in drug paraphernalia, magazines, and longhair political tomes. That was my inspiration. I’m sorry to say she didn’t pluck a chicken during our visit. I added that just to make her creepy.
Issue 3′s Featured Author Margaret Elysia Garcia has done it again. In the wonderful online magazine of creative nonfiction, Pigeon Town (www.pigeontown.com), you can now read her brand new story, “Seventh Grade Theft.” [Photo: "To Make a Child Cry" by Eleanor Leonne Bennett, featured in Issue 4]
Penduline Featured Author Jenny Forrester has wowed another large Seattle crowd with her storytelling. Verbalist’s Journal, the printed archive of the live stories told at Verbalists, is now available for free download. It features work by Jenny as well as Wes K. Andrews, Ann Hedreen, and Mallery Avidon. Check out the written version of her [...]
I think I set so many things in Los Angeles because I’m never quite through with how I feel about being from there. I love Nathanael West’s Day of the Locusts. Or Joan Didion’s LA essays in Slouching Towards Bethlehem. I wanted to add my corner of Los Angeles too because I think it’s underrepresented (even though LA is completely overrepresented as a whole in film and lit). I love the theme of inventing one’s self in a new landscape which West and Didion both write about. I like the high expectations with little or no delivery that LA gives us. I’m a little sick that way.
Surely this northern, wintry location of Amsterdam, with its colonial history of seafaring and sugar production, would distract our focus from the voodoo spells of angry Tanzanian villagers. Surely we would have trouble picturing the sights, sounds and smells of sub-Saharan Africa while eating oliebollen, traditional deep-fried doughnut balls coated in powdered sugar that are sold everywhere through New Year’s.
Right now these fictionalized memoirs are important to me, because I am finally seeing and processing what I was facing as a young teen and how unprepared I was for it all. My daughters are reaching this stage and I can see that they are not bathed in violence and they are much more confident and mature than I was at their age. Writing through these experiences has given me so much optimism—that positive change does happen, and the chain of family violence can be unhinged, broken, laid to rest.
Come hear Jenny Forrester read from her work this Tuesday, September 13th, 2011 after 8 p.m. at The Blue Monk in southeast Portland! It’s Smalldoggies magazine’s one-year-anniversary event, the Smalldoggies Reading Series PDX013, with live music provided by Soft Paws. 3341 Southeast Belmont Street. 21 and older welcome. [Image: "Duck Creek" by Matthew Jordan]
In what ways is your writing conformist, and in what ways is it revolutionary?
I write stories about conformists because that’s the culture I was raised in. It’s revolutionary because I write from outside that culture now, but I keep in mind (and hopefully in the reader’s mind) the fact that this particular culture still exists and it’s still dangerous to women and girls and everyone else—except white males. There, I said it.
What artists or events influenced you early on in your experience?
When I was eight years old I saw a Piet Mondrian painting on the cover of a magazine. It struck a chord, the use of black lines, blocks of colour, and white spaces.
Later that year at my school, a painting competition was held. There had been themed competitions before during the year, but in that particular week, the contest had a “leave it up to you” theme. So I used my imagination and came up with something abstract. My teacher truly appreciated how different my entry was. No one at school knew it, but making abstract art was what I did at home, up in my room. I did all sorts of geometric colouring books. I measured out all these squares on paper and then would sit quietly staring at them.
Winning that contest was like, wow! It was one of those instances in your life that goes deep down.
Seattle-based writer and fellow Penduline Issue 1 contributor Jenny Hayes (pictured, left) was among those in the audience that evening. Her reaction? “We were all so excited for Jenny, ready to cheer her on no matter how it went. And she killed it!”
We don’t ever get to thank our teachers enough, but by dedicating Issue 1 to Ariel, it’s a small thank you for her light, her contributions to art and literature, and her careful guidance of writers in many places around the world.